Biden Administration Says There's Nothing Wrong With ICE Setting Up A Fake College To Dupe Foreign Students Out Of Their Money, Residency

from the fake-show-must-go-on dept

In 2019, facts came to light showing ICE had set up an entire fake college in Michigan to "catch" foreign visitors in the act of COMPLYING WITH FEDERAL LAW by continuing to pursue advanced degrees. Student visas remain valid as long as foreign visitors continue their education. The dwindling supply of H-1B visas under Trump meant that staying on top of educational obligations was a priority for those already in the country.

But instead of sitting back and seeing whether some H-1B visa holders violated their obligations, ICE set up an a fake college -- one with a campus and a Facebook page and personnel who gladly accepted $100 application fees from H-1B hopefuls. ICE even asked a private entity to step in and designate its faux college as fully accredited for H-1B applicants to sell the ruse.

After the ruse served its purpose, ICE moved in. It managed to ensnare all of eight people who might be associated with defrauding foreign visitors. ICE apparently avoided looking too hard at itself and its personnel... which took cash from applicants in exchange for false promises about visa extensions. More than 150 duped students were arrested but only eight of those are actually facing criminal charges.

ICE said it was the foreign students' own fault if they didn't recognize the carefully constructed ruse for what it was. It also said it was trying to protect people from fraud, even as it defrauded more than 600 students out of $100 application fees. Multiple lawsuits against ICE have been filed since this information became public. And, so far, two consecutive administrations have failed to talk federal courts into dismissals.

We've had a change in regimes and DOJ figureheads, but the government continues to insist it has done nothing wrong. If anyone was expecting Biden to roll back all the anti-immigrant policies and programs instituted by former president Donald Trump, they need to brace themselves for a whole bunch of disappointment. The new, improved DOJ is still the same old DOJ. The government did nothing wrong, the DOJ continues to insist, despite many in the current administration claiming the previous presidency did a whole lot of wrong.

The U.S. government set up a fake university as a sting operation ostensibly to catch foreigners using school admission for visas. Now, those caught up by it are seeking their time in court -- and say they have found the new presidential administration no friendlier to their fight.

The Biden administration followed in the Trump administration's footsteps in February requesting a class-action lawsuit over the fake University of Farmington be dismissed from Federal Claims Court.

The members of the Biden administration -- in particular, Kamala Harris -- openly criticized ICE's tactics. But the administration isn't willing to drop its defense of ICE, which means it's tacitly approving even the most questionable of sting operations by federal agencies.

This is the government shielding itself from having to abandon highly questionable operations even as its figureheads (President Biden, VP Harris) talk a good game about being better on immigration than their predecessors. It's all an act. No one wants to invite courts to question the legitimacy of government sting operations that defraud hundreds of students and seemingly cross over into entrapment. If certain agencies can't manufacture a few criminals on the side, they may have trouble justifying their billion dollar budgets. And we apparently can't have that happen, no matter who's occupying the Oval Office.

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Filed Under: doj, fake university, honey pot, ice, immigration


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  • icon
    Upstream (profile), 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:07am

    RICO?

    Government may not qualify as RICO but it sure as hell qualifies as organized crime.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Mr Juan 'Bugsy' Rico, 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:15am

      Re: RICO?

      FYI of all: made up screen name long before saw this comment: it's a play on hero of "Starship Troopers".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Mr Juan 'Bugsy' Rico, 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:10am

    NO, foreigner criminals looked for way to evade law.

    If certain agencies can't manufacture a few criminals on the side,

    As usual, you advocate foreigners over citizens. Why is that? What's in it for you?

    ICE only provided inviting opportunity to FAKE the requirement. I bet was clearly FAKE imitating similar. -- How else would 600 foreigners have found this unless specifically looking for a FAKE school? They didn't check it out before paying? NO, they KNEW.

    On the positive side, it's a bit hopeful that: A) Techdirt has discovered the over-arching Establishment / bureaucracy so long ignored and denied here, and B) that not everyone even in an un-elected admin is willing to blatantly and for sure destroy the country by allowing in unlimited numbers of third-worlders.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Mr Juan 'Bugsy' Rico, 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:13am

      Re: NO, foreigner criminals looked for way to evade law.

      HEY, the mighty filters are DOWN today! All my several comments have gone in first click. What did you change, Techdirt? And how long will this last? Are you allowing me in hopes of stirring up the fanboys so looks there's interest in this tiny little waning site? -- Don't rely on me, 'cause there's VERY little interest in the FEW topics of late. I'm here for TOPICS, NOT TROLLING ad hom as your fanboys do.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:14am

      Shut up, Meg.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Mr Juan 'Bugsy' Rico, 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:18am

        Re: A. Stephen Stone with typically Nazi misogynist attack.

        Shut up, Meg.

        Going to Nazi, attack immigrants and women some more? Bet ya do, 'cause that's all you're up to.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:16am

    If anyone was expecting Biden to roll back all the anti-immigrant policies and programs instituted by former president Donald Trump, they need to brace themselves for a whole bunch of disappointment.

    Eh, high expectations are disappointments planned in advance. Besides, I never expected Biden to be anything other than “not as much of a self-aggrandizing dickbag as Old 45” — which, to be fair, he is pulling off.

    Maybe we’ll see an actual fucking leftist in the White House in 2025.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Mr Juan 'Bugsy' Rico, 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:20am

      Re: A. Stephen Stone glad Biden policies just like Trump.

      And he clearly hates any "actual fucking leftist[s]".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:21am

    and there was me thinking that Trump was the only POTUS who pulled this shit! Biden and Harris should be ashamed of themselves!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:33am

    I don't get the "haha gotcha part"..

    Wasn't the authority to decide which schools meet the requirements for that Visa delegated to the accreditation agency? If they say it's a legitimate school it is right? They do a bad job making that decision doesn't take away their authority to make it

    Or is it that the accreditation somehow has nothing to do with whether a school meets the requirements for H-1B visa?

    I'm missing the punchline where the gov't gets to pull the rug out and reveal it was all a ruse.. where's the ruse in having people signing up for a legitimately accredited institution? Haha, it should never have been accredited because it doesn't meet the requirements? But the students didn't accredit it..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Mar 2021 @ 12:32pm

      Re:

      The fun part is how the agency that granted them accreditation just utterly destroyed their credibility from that point on, as if they're willing to grant accreditation to a bogus school then clearly their standards are empty and their stamp of approval meaningless.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        crade (profile), 26 Mar 2021 @ 1:05pm

        Re: Re:

        But it's not just some private entity dependent on their credibility, The government decides who gets to be recognized as valid accrediting agencies. I don't see how it can be argued that you are granting accreditation to a bogus school anymore.. I would say at that point you are officially recognizing that school as legitimate and you just have terrible standards for what makes a legitimate school in your country

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Koby (profile), 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:35am

    JeBaited

    The government engages in a few enforcement actions that manages to catch a small number of crooks, in order to gain publicity and deter a larger amount of others. As an example, Highway Patrol setting up bait cars will not prevent all car theft. If I mess up on my taxes, and the IRS decides to audit me, they aren't going to show any mercy. Similarly, student visitors ought to feel some fear of attempting to remain under fraudulent pretenses. There NEEDS to be a risk of getting caught.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:40am

      student visitors ought to feel some fear of attempting to remain under fraudulent pretenses

      The problem, then, is that the students (likely) thought they were attempting to remain under perfectly legal pretenses. From the article:

      ICE said it was the foreign students' own fault if they didn't recognize the carefully constructed ruse for what it was.

      The whole point of this bullshit was for ICE to put together a ruse that looked perfectly legal as a way of fooling foreign students into fucking themselves over for trying to stay in the country in a perfectly legal way. How could the government fucking people over for trying to follow the law ever deter anyone from breaking the law?

      Or do you not care because “America First”?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:44am

      Re: JeBaited

      This wasn't enforcement action, or setting up bait cars to discourage theft. This was the police putting up shiny, authentic looking (certified by NHTSA!) "Speed Limit 100 mph" signs and then giving speeding tickets for everyone driving 100 mph.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        crade (profile), 26 Mar 2021 @ 11:55am

        Re: Re: JeBaited

        But not only authentic looking, it's legitimately authentic in this case. That's where they lose me. You can't trick someone into trespassing on your property by inviting them inside.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Mar 2021 @ 12:23pm

      Re: JeBaited

      Similarly, student visitors ought to feel some fear of attempting to remain under fraudulent pretenses.

      It helps if you actually read the article, less chance of ending up with your foot in your mouth.

      ICE even asked a private entity to step in and designate its faux college as fully accredited for H-1B applicants to sell the ruse.

      ...

      ICE said it was the foreign students' own fault if they didn't recognize the carefully constructed ruse for what it was.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2021 @ 12:39pm

        Re: Re: JeBaited

        I mean, if ICE set up a website offering fake collage admission and attendance so that users could fool the government and keep their visas, that would be a sting.

        I think the whole point is that they do it the one way, but play it the other way after the fact - the big lie method seems to work, even in broad daylight. There seem to always be enough evil morons to support such narratives, like our local village idiot.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 26 Mar 2021 @ 12:48pm

          Re: Re: Re: JeBaited

          Had they created a fake platform that was advertised as a way to cheat the system and scooped up only those that fell for it that would be one thing and I don't imagine many people would have objected, but by creating a bogus school to 'catch' those that were attempting to comply with the law, and then blaming the would-be students for not seeing through the official accreditation and realizing it was a bogus school they lost any support they might have had other than from people who's thought process starts and ends at 'if they're not natural born americans screw 'em'.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Mar 2021 @ 12:29pm

    Words are empty, what matters is action

    The members of the Biden administration -- in particular, Kamala Harris -- openly criticized ICE's tactics. But the administration isn't willing to drop its defense of ICE, which means it's tacitly approving even the most questionable of sting operations by federal agencies.

    If you're willing to criticize someone or something when you don't have the power to change it but not willing to do anything when you gain that power then you've shown that your earlier objections were nothing but faux outrage, said not because of what you truly felt but merely because you thought it would benefit you to have said them.

    Or as Jon Stewart put it, ‘If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values, they’re hobbies.’

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    edinjapan (profile), 27 Mar 2021 @ 7:15am

    Canadian Universities

    They would have been better off going to a Canadian university.At least then they would have been assured that the university or college was legit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Mar 2021 @ 5:32pm

      Re: Canadian Universities

      They had... US visas. If they had originally gone to Canada, yeah this pretty much wouldn't be a thing.

      Please, no one come to school (or anything, really) in the States. Not worth it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 28 Mar 2021 @ 4:00am

    In 2019, facts came to light showing ICE had set up an entire fake
    college

    Why not? Worked (briefly) for Drumpf.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    me, 29 Mar 2021 @ 5:03am

    Do NOT interact with ICE

    This just goes to show that they are not to be trusted under any circumstances.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Mar 2021 @ 6:39am

    I think the problem is that ICE is packed from bottom to top with racists, Trumpkins, and Q-tips. At the same time, the right wing hate machine has pivoted back to immigration as the rhetorical weapon du jour. So in spite of being President, Biden does not actually have the ability to go against ICE at this time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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